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In artist Cole Sternberg's ongoing sociopolitical discussion, Sternberg delves into the idea of consumption as a perceived 'right' of Americans; a 'right' that is perpetuated and celebrated by the media to thus spread like wildfire through the world. The works presented included a conceptual performance, sculpture and gestural paintings, which address the vast consumption that surrounds us in a colorful yet ominous manner. Taking place in an upscale strip mall where ladies drive up in their SUVs to get their hair done and shop for jewelry, the gallery became part of the performance, further illustrating Sternberg's strong commentary on excessive consumption.
Entering strip mall shopping center outlet mall mall of america, viewers approached the gallery where they were greeted by streams of Sternberg's text being projected on the exterior of the exhibition gallery. Viewers were forced to pass a baseball player throwing bottles across the room; the shards of broken glass formed a shiny black sculpture as they crashed on top of each other in the middle of the room. The viewer will then notice an American flag deconstructed with the multi-platinum rapper T.I.'s line "you can have whatever you like" scribbled on it. Actual silk-screens encrusted in paint and shot with images of Sternberg, dreams and Americana references demonstrate another means of mass production and the artist's views on said production. The sounds, the muted blues, reds, grays and stark black come together to give the viewer an interesting moment to be behind the curtain of a society obsessed with consumption.
Sternberg explained, "people think they deserve to have gas for pennies, eat thousand calorie school lunches, use clean water to wash their driveways while recycle nothing and not give a shit about what that really means. Fundamental rights are health and a livable environment, not doing whatever you feel like doing whenever you want. America is five percent of the world's population and consumes twenty-four percent of the world's resources. Being the richest bully on the block, this 'successful' model of consumption at all costs is now being duplicated throughout the world, whether it is Chinese energy policy or super-sized McDonald's meals in Japan, the reflections of the America are everywhere. This may seem like an obvious recognition, yet nothing seems to be done to truly slow the tidal wave."